Proposal falls by almost 2-to-1 margin
by Joshua Maloni
As the Lewiston Civic Center referendum vote was revealed Monday night, a stoic Steve Reiter said it all.
"The public spoke. The public spoke," the Town of Lewiston supervisor said.
Despite his efforts to win over voters on the idea of a multimillion-dollar recreation facility, Lewiston and Sanborn residents rejected the idea by a nearly 2-to-1 margin at a special referendum. Those voting in favor of the town moving forward with the project numbered 673. Those in opposition to the idea totaled 1,312.
"I would say, unfortunately, I think there was pressure about cost and things like that that probably weren't portrayed as well as they could've been," Reiter said. "People were worried about expenses of the building and things of that nature, even though we had stated rationally how that would come from different sources; and utility costs, we could use our electric moniterization money (funding the town receives each month from the sale of hydropower). I just don't think that was portrayed as well as it could've been."
When asked if the project is now dead, Reiter said, "I would say it would be very difficult to regenerate the project with that kind of vote. It would be very difficult."
Ultimately, Reiter said voters were swayed by "fear of the unknown of the money. Fear of expenses.
"I can understand that. I can really understand that."
Almost 80 absentee ballots were cast, but did not play a factor in the final tally. A total of 10,698 registered voters were eligible to participate in the referendum.
The Civic Center would've been built on the Lewiston-Porter campus on Creek Road.
Look for Terry Duffy's full report in Saturday's Sentinel.